Sunday, October 19, 2014

“The Prophet”

The headline in the October 24, 1868 Pacific Commercial Advertiser boldly stated “Insurrection on Hawaiʻi.”

“For several years past, one (Joseph Ioela) Kaʻona … imbibed the idea that he was a prophet sent by God to warn this people of the end of the world. For the three years he has been preaching this millerite doctrine on Hawaiʻi, and has made numerous converts.”    (PCA, October 24, 1868)

Kaʻona was born and brought up in Kainaliu, Kona on the island of Hawaiʻi. He received his education at the Hilo Boarding School and graduated from Lahainaluna on Maui.

Following the Māhele, Kaʻona was employed surveying kuleana (property, titles, claims) in Kaʻū and Oʻahu. He was well-educated and was later employed as a magistrate, both in Honolulu and in Lāhainā. (Greenwell)

Then, he felt possessed with miraculous powers.

“By the mid-1860s, Kaʻona claimed to have had divine communications with Elijah, Gabriel, and Jehovah, from whom he’d received divine instructions and prophetic.”  (Maly)  Followers called him ‘The Prophet;’ his followers were referred to as Kaʻonaites.)

“Some months ago he was arrested and sent to the Insane Asylum in this city as a lunatic, but the physician decided that he was as sane as any man, and he was therefore set at liberty again.”  (PCA, October 24, 1868)

“He returned to Kona, and the number of his followers rapidly increased, till now it is over three hundred. They are mostly natives, but some are probably foreigners, as we received a letter a few weeks ago from one of them ….”

“These fanatics believe that the end of the world is at hand, and they must be ready. They therefore clothe themselves in white robes, ready to ascend, watch at night, but sleep during the day, decline to cultivate anything except beans, corn, or the most common food.”

“They live together in one colony, and have selected a tract of land about half way between Kealakekua Bay and Kailua, which the prophet told them was the only land that would not be overrun with lava, while all the rest of the island is to be destroyed.”  (PCA, October 24, 1868)

“Kaʻona was received by (Reverend John Davis) Paris and congregation at Lanakila Church, and he once again drew many people to him with his powerful doctrine. But his claims of prophetic visions, unorthodox methods of teaching, questionable morality, soon caused the larger congregations from Kailua to Kealakekua to become suspicious of his intentions.”  (Maly)

“Some three years ago, the neat little church at Kainaliu was built, by subscription …. Paris, the Pastor preached on certain Sundays, and Kaʻona … one of the Lunas, would preach on others.”

“For a time, all went on smoothly enough, until Kaʻona began to introduce some slight innovations in the form of worship, which were opposed by Mr. Paris and minority of the congregation and the church became split into two factions. … The feud continued to increase …” (Hawaiian Gazette, November 18, 1868)”

When asked to leave Lanakila Church, Kaʻona and his followers refused, Governess Keʻelikōlani was forced to intercede and called upon local sheriff Richard B. Neville.  In September 1867, Kaʻona and followers vacated Lanakila, and moved to an area below the church.  (Maly)

The Kaʻonaites settled on the kula and coastal lands at Lehuʻula, south of Keauhou (near present-day Hokuliʻa.)  “There they built a number of grass houses, erected a flag, and held their  meetings, religious and political … he and his adherents were claiming, cultivating and appropriating to themselves the products of the lands leased and owned by others….”  (Paris; Maly)

Neville was sent to evict them from there.

Kaʻona was arrested and returned to O‘ahu for a short time, but by March 1868, he, again, returned to Kona.

On April 2, 1868, a destructive earthquake shook the island, causing significant damage and tidal waves, and numerous deaths (the estimated 7.9 magnitude quake was the strongest to hit the Islands.)

Kaʻona described it as the final days.

“(The Kaʻonaites) have taken oath, that they will all be killed before they surrender. I am ready to start from here at any time, with quite a company of men. If we hear that there is need for more help. We are badly off for good firearms here.”

“Kaʻona’s party have threatened to burn all the houses in Kona & to take life. It may not be as bad as it is represented”.  (Governor Lyman of Interior Minister Hutchinson, October 25, 1868; Maly)

On October 19, Sheriff Neville, his deputy and policemen, approached Kaʻona once again to evict them, and Kaʻona encouraged his followers to fight. A riot took place.

“Neville was felled from his horse by a stone, which struck him on the head … (an assistant) tried to get Neville, but the stones were too many, and so he fled likewise, and was pursued ….” (Hawaiian Gazette, June 23, 1869)  Neville and another were both brutally killed.  The event has been referred to as Kaʻona’s Rebellion, Kaʻona Insurrection and Kaʻona Uprising.

Kaʻona eventually surrendered; he and sixty-six of his followers were arrested, and another 222 were released after a short detention.  Kaʻona was returned to O‘ahu, convicted and sentenced to ten years of hard labor.

But in 1874, shortly after David Kalākaua (he and Albert Francis Judd had been appointed Kaʻona’s defense attorneys in 1868) became King, he pardoned Kaʻona. By 1878, Kaʻona had once again taken up residence at Kainaliu vicinity, and undertook work with the poor.  Kaʻona died in 1883.  (Maly)

The image shows the general location of Lehuʻula (Google Earth.)   In addition, I have included more related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seven Sisters

Nā-Huihui-O-Makaliʻi, "Cluster of Little Eyes" (Makaliʻi) (a faint group of blue-white stars) marks the shoulder of the Taurus (Bull) constellation.  Though small and dipper-shaped, it is not the Little Dipper.

Traditionally, the rising of Makaliʻi at sunset following the new moon (about the middle of October) marked the beginning of a four-month Makahiki season in ancient Hawaiʻi (a sign of the change of the season to winter.)

In Hawaiʻi, the Makahiki is a form of the “first fruits” festivals following the harvest season common to many cultures throughout the world. It is similar in timing and purpose to Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest and other harvest celebrations.

Something similar was observed throughout Polynesia, but it was in pre-contact Hawaiʻi that the festival reached its greatest elaboration.  As the year's harvest was gathered, tributes in the form of goods and produce were given to the chiefs from November through December.

Various rites of purification and celebration in December and January closed the observance of the Makahiki season. During the special holiday the success of the harvest was commemorated with prayers of praise made to the Creator, ancestral guardians, caretakers of the elements and various deities - particularly Lono.

Makaliʻi is also known as the Pleiades; its common name is the Seven Sisters.

But it is not these seven sisters that is the subject of this summary; this story is about Mellie, Kulamanu, May, Einei, Lucy, Kathleen and Lani – the seven daughters of Curtis and Victoria Ward.

Curtis Perry Ward was born in Kentucky and arrived in Hawaiʻi in 1853, when whaling in the Pacific was at its peak. Curtis worked at the Royal Custom House, which monitored commercial activity at Honolulu Harbor for the kingdom.

Victoria Robinson was born in Nuʻuanu in 1846, the daughter of English shipbuilder, James Robinson and his wife Rebecca, a woman of Hawaiian ancestry whose chiefly lineage had roots in Kaʻū, Hilo and Honokōwai, Maui.

Ward started a livery with headquarters on Queen Street and expanded into the business of transporting cargo on horse-pulled wagons. The size of Ward's work force became just as big as the harbor's other major player, James Robinson & Co. (Victoria's father.)

Curtis and Victoria married in 1865 and for many years they made their home near Honolulu Harbor on property presently occupied by the Davies Pacific Center.

The Wards bought land on what was then the outskirts of Honolulu, eventually acquiring over 100-acres of land running from Thomas Square on King Street down to the ocean.

They built the "Old Plantation" in 1882, a stately, Southern-style home on the mauka portion of the property.  It featured an artesian well, vegetable and flower gardens, a large pond stocked with fish, and extensive pasturage for horses and cattle. Self-sufficient as a working farm, Old Plantation was surrounded by a vast coconut grove.

Here’s a link to a video of "Old Plantation" with Anna Machado Cazimero, Kanoe Cazimero, Rodney Cazimero, Melveen Leed and Tito Berinobis.

That year, Curtis Ward died (at age 53,) leaving Victoria to raise seven daughters and manage the estate.  Here’s a little bit about the girls.

Mary Elizabeth “Mellie” Ward (February 16, 1867 to July 26, 1956) - married Frank Hustace September 30, 1886; Frank worked with, then succeeded his father-in-law in the draying business.

May Augusta Ward (May 10, 1871 to January 6, 1938) - married Ernest Hay Wodehouse in 1893; he was a prominent figure in the business world of Hawaiʻi; former president of Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association and the Sugar Factors Co, Ltd.

Annie Eva Theresa “Einei” Ward (March 13, 1873 to July 19, 1934) - married Wade Armstrong (Einei was the first of the Ward sisters to die, living to the age of 61.)

Keakealani Perry “Lani” Ward (May 27, 1881, December 31, 1961) - married Robert Booth; in 1966, Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children completed a new four-story Lani Ward Booth wing on Punahou Street.

Three sisters never married, and Lucy and Kathleen lived their lives at Old Plantation:
Hattie Kulamanu Ward (March 26, 1869 to March 2, 1959)
Lucy Kaiaka Ward (August 27, 1874 to March 20, 1954) (one of the founding members of the Hawaiian Humane Society)
Victoria Kathleen Ward (February 27, 1878 September 12, 1958)

Victoria Ward established Victoria Ward Ltd. in 1930 to manage the family's property, primarily the remaining 65-acres of Old Plantation, now part of the core of Kakaʻako real estate adjoining downtown Honolulu.  Victoria Ward died April 11, 1935.

Victoria Ward was loyal to the Kingdom (Queen Liliʻuokalani was her personal friend) and she died under the flag much in the same way her husband passed under the Confederate flag more than 50 years before.  (Command)

Three sisters, Lucy Kathleen and Kulamanu, took control of the Victoria Ward Estate, with Kathleen becoming president and Lucy the secretary.

All was not always happy in the family.

In 1951, sisters Lucy and Kathleen sued to establish guardianship for sister Kulamanu.  At the hearing, evidence of insanity was undisputed and proved to the judge's satisfaction that Kulamanu was mentally incapable of managing her estate. On evidence of suitability the probate judge found that Hawaiian Trust Company, Limited, is "a fit and proper person to be appointed" as guardian of her estate.  (Circuit Court Records)

Later (1957,) the Supreme Court decided on sisters Lani and Mellie (and nephew Cenric Wodehouse) petition for the appointment of a guardian for their sister, Kathleen, alleging that Kathleen was seventy-seven years of age, mentally infirm and unable to manage her business affairs.

The court found Victoria Kathleen Ward was incompetent to manage her business affairs (but not insane) and appointed Chinn Ho, Mark Norman Olds and George H Vicars, Jr guardians of the property.  (Supreme Court Records)

In 1958, the city bought the mauka portion of the Old Plantation Estate and tore it down to build the Honolulu International Center (later re-named Neal S. Blaisdell Center (after Honolulu's former Mayor.))

The Blaisdell Center has been in operation since 1964 and in 1994 was remodeled and expanded.  The Blaisdell Center complex includes a multi-purpose Arena, Exhibition Hall, Galleria, Concert Hall, meeting rooms and parking structure.

On April 8, 2002, General Growth Properties, Inc announced the acquisition of Victoria Ward, Limited; this included 65-fee simple acres in Kakaʻako, with improvements of over one-million square feet of leasable area (Ward Entertainment Center, Ward Warehouse, Ward Village and Village Shops.)

General Growth later (2004) acquired the Howard Hughes Corporation.  With excessive debt, General Growth was pushed into bankruptcy in 2009; then, in 2010, it spun off the Ward assets into the Hughes entity (General Growth was out of bankruptcy by the end of that year.)

The image shows Mellie, Kulamanu, May, Einei, Lucy, Kathleen and Lani – seven sisters, and daughters of Curtis and Victoria Ward.  In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

George McClay

With “contact” (arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778,) a new style of boat was in the islands and Kamehameha started to acquire and build them.

The first Western-style vessel built in the Islands was the Beretane (1793.)  Through the aid of Captain George Vancouver's mechanics, after launching, it was used in the naval combat with Kahekili's war canoes off the Kohala coast.  (Thrum)

Encouraged by the success of this new type of vessel, others were built.  The second ship built in the Islands, a schooner called Tamana (named after Kamehameha’s favorite wife, Kaʻahumanu,) was used to carry of his cargo of trade to the missions along the coast of California.  (Couper & Thrum, 1886)

From 1796 until 1802 the kingdom flourished. Several small decked vessels were built.  (Case) According to Cleveland's account, Kamehameha possessed at that time twenty small vessels of from twenty to forty tons burden, some even copper-bottomed.  (Alexander)

The king's fleet of small vessels was hauled up on shore around Waikiki Bay, with sheds built over them. One small sloop was employed as a packet between Oahu and Hawaii. Captain Harbottle, an old resident, generally acted as pilot.  (Alexander)

One of the earliest white residents of the Islands was George McClay, a Yankee ship-carpenter who drifted into Honolulu sometime between 1793 and 1806.

Captain Amasa Delano of Duxbury, on whose ship he had formerly sailed, found him at the Islands in 1806 with a well-established boat-building business. He had built twenty small vessels, and a few as large as fifty tons burthen. (Massachusetts Historical Society)

“He was my carpenter in the ship Eliza, when I left Canton in 1793, and went to the Isle of France with me, and was also carpenter in the large ship Hector, which was purchased at that place. “   (Delano)

“He went with me to Bombay after which he had been travelling in that part of the world until he had found his way to the Sandwich Islands, where he was noticed by the king on account of his being a good natured, honest fellow, and a very good ship builder.”    (Delano)

“He had built near twenty small vessels, and a few as large as forty or fifty tons, whilst he was at these islands.  …  All this labour he performed for the king.”

“I made a confidant of George McClay whilst at these islands, in all my negotiations with the king, and with other persons, with whom I had intercource.”   (Delano)

Then, on June 21, 1803, the Lelia Byrd, an American ship under Captain William Shaler, arrived; during his stay, Shaler asked Kamehameha for one of the chief’s small schooners.

Wanting bigger and better, in 1805, Kamehameha traded the 45-ton Tamana and a cargo of sandalwood for the Lelia Byrd,) a "fast, Virginia-built brig of 175-tons." It became the flagship of Kamehameha’s Navy.

Shaler exchanged "Lelia Byrd," with Kamehameha for the Tamana and a sum of money to boot.  (Alexander)  The cargo was received into his store, and when the schooner was ready it was all faithfully and honorably delivered to the person appointed to receive it.   (Cleveland)

“(U)unfortunately, the ship (previously) struck on a shoal, and beat so heavily, before getting off, as to cause her to leak alarmingly.”  (Cleveland)

McClay put in a new keel, and nearly replanked the Lelia Byrd in Honolulu Harbor. She afterwards made two or three voyages to China with sandalwood.  (Alexander)

In 1809, the village of Honolulu, which consisted of several hundred huts, was then well shaded with cocoanut-trees. The king's house, built close to the shore and surrounded by a palisade, was distinguished by the British colors and a battery of sixteen carriage guns belonging to his ship, the "Lily Bird" (Lelia Byrd), which lay unrigged in the harbor.  (Campbell; Alexander)

A short distance away were two large stone houses which contained the European articles belonging to the king. On the shore at Waikiki, with sheds built over them, were the smaller vessels of the king’s fleet.  (Case)

Kamehameha kept his shipbuilders busy; by 1810 he had more than thirty small sloops and schooners hauled up on the shore at Waikīkī and about a dozen more in Honolulu harbor, besides the Lelia Byrd.  (Kuykendall)

The image shows shelters and vessels under construction/storage in Honolulu/Waikiki. (Massey; Cook)

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sandwich Islander Tax

Within ten years after Captain Cook’s 1778 contact with Hawai‘i, the islands became a favorite port of call in the trade with China.  The fur traders and merchant ships crossing the Pacific needed to replenish food supplies and water.

The maritime fur trade focused on acquiring furs of sea otters, seals and other animals from the Pacific Northwest Coast and Alaska.  The furs were mostly sold in China in exchange for tea, silks, porcelain and other Chinese goods, which were then sold in Europe and the United States.

Needing supplies in their journey, the traders soon realized they could economically barter for provisions in Hawai‘i; a triangular trade network emerged linking the Pacific Northwest coast, China and the Hawaiian Islands to Britain and the United States (especially New England).

After acquiring the “Louisiana Purchase” in 1803, under the directive of President Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the "Corps of Discovery Expedition" (1804–1806), was the first transcontinental expedition to the Pacific coast undertaken by the United States.

As early as 1811, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) had already hired twelve Hawaiians on three year contracts to work for them in the Pacific Northwest.  That year John Jacob Astor built Fort Astoria, it was later sold to the North West Company.

Comfortable with the service from the Hawaiians, in 1817, North West sent a ship “to bring as many of the Sandwich Islanders to the Columbia river as we could conveniently accommodate.”  (Corney)

The number of Hawaiians working as contract laborers for the Hudson’s Bay Company steadily grew.  The large number of Hawaiian workers in the village at Fort Vancouver led to the name "Kanaka Town" in the early 1850s - "Kanaka" is the word for "person" in the Native Hawaiian language.

Historians suggest “that young Hawaiian males left Hawaiʻi as workers on whaling ships and traveled to China, Europe, Mexico, and the US mainland. In addition, many ventured into the Pacific Northwest territory, worked in the fur trade, and ended up settling in those areas.” (pbs-org)

Sandwich Islanders (Hawaiians) came to Oregon Country as seamen. Many remained in Oregon to work under contract as laborers, servants and craftsmen.

The growing population of Hawaiian into the Oregon Country resulted in growing concerns.

Then, in 1845, the Oregon legislature addressed a bill designed to reduce the flow – it was called the Sandwich Islander Tax.

It was an attempt to raise revenue by taxing employers of these Islanders, and it reflects the notion that they will not become permanent residents of Oregon.

A transcript of original drafting of the bill notes, “An Act concerning the introduction of Sandwich Islanders or natives from any of the adjoining islands.”

“Sec 1 Be it enacted by the house of Representatives of Oregon Territory as follows  - That all persons who shall hereafter introduce into Oregon Territory any Sandwich Islanders or natives from any of the neighboring Islands for a term of Service shall pay a tax of five dollars for each person so introduced;”

“Sec 2 Each and every person in this Territory shall pay a tax of three dollar per annum for each and every Sandwich Islander or any native from a neighbouring Island that they keep in their service for a term of years’”

“Sec 3 The revenue arising from said tax shall be assessed and collected as other Taxes are assessed and collected, and paid into the Territorial Treasury the same time the other Territorial Revenue is paid in.”

While introduced, the bill never passed.

"The bill to tax Sandwich Islanders, was read a third time, and indefinitely postponed."  (December 18, 1845; Oregon Archives)

The intent was later disclosed, "For the taxation of the Sandwich Islanders, employed almost exclusively as servants and laborers, by the HB Company, and intended merely to annoy and embarass the gentlemen in charge of the said company."  (Oregon Historical Quarterly, 1909)

However, on October 15, 1862, Oregon Governor Addison C Gibbs approved the law that had passed the House of Representations (October 8, 1862) and Senate (October 13, 1862) that stated:

"That each and every negro, Chinaman, kanaka and mulatto ("mixed" or "biracial,") residing within the limits of this state, shall pay an annual poll tax of five dollars, for the use of the county in which such negro, Chinaman, kanaka and mulatto may reside."

"That every such negro, Chinaman, kanaka and mulatto, shall, between the first day of January and the first day of March, of each year, pay to the county treasurer of the county in which he may reside, the sum of five dollars, and thereupon said treasurer shall make out and deliver to such person a receipt".

"When such negro, Chinaman, kanaka and mulatto shall fail and neglect to pay the tax required by section second of this act, then it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the county wherein such tax payer may reside or be found, to immediately collect such tax, with the additional sum of one dollar, and mileage, which additional sum and mileage shall go to the sheriff, as his fees; the balance shall be paid into the county treasury, and the sheriff is required to make return to the county treasurer of the taxes collected under the provisions of this act, on the first Monday of June, and every three months thereafter."

"Should such negro, Chinaman, kanaka or mulatto, fail to pay the tax required by section second of this act, and should the sheriff be unable to collect the same, or make the same out of property belonging to such tax payers, then it is made the duty of the sheriff to arrest such negro, Chinaman, kanaka or mulatto, and put him at work on the public highways, under the direction of the road supervisor …”

“… such taxpayers shall be required to work one day on such highways, for every half-dollar of such tax due and unpaid, and in addition thereto, shall be allowed his board, which shall be paid by the county in which such labor is performed, and the sheriff shall be allowed by the county court a reasonable sum for his service.”

The image shows the draft of the original ‘Sandwich Islander Tax Bill.’

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Papaʻāpoho describes a flat area with a depression or hollow, which is how the island of Papaʻāpoho is shaped.  It’s over 1,000-miles from Honolulu.

This 23.4-million-year-old island is over 1.2-miles across and has a land area of approximately 400-acres, making it the third largest island within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (to the northwest of the Main Hawaiian Islands.)

Like its name, the island has an elevated rim (its highest point is a 40-foot-high sand dune) surrounding a broad central depression; its lowest point is a depression to the south that runs as a channel toward the ocean.

"This is a low, sandy island, elevated from 20 to 40 feet above the sea. It is about 1 1/4 miles long, and the northern part one mile wide; the surface is covered with green coarse grass."

"There is what has been a lagoon near the southern part of the island, in the centre of which fresh water was found by digging 5-feet. Birds, fish, seal and turtle abound here, but not so plentiful as at Laysan Island."  (Paty, Polynesian, June 6, 1857)

At 10 pm, October 15, 1805, Urey Lisiansky (Yuri Fyodorovich Lisyansky,) an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy and commanding officer of the exploratory sloop-of-war Neva, ran aground on the island.  Captain Lisiansky jettisoned some of the ship's cargo to free themselves from the shallow waters.

“This island promises nothing to the adventurous voyager but certain danger in the first instance, and almost unavoidable destruction in the event. It stands in the middle of a very perilous coral bank, and, exclusive of a small eminence on the eastern part, lies almost on a level with the sea."  (A Voyage Round the World, Lisiansky, 1805)

 “As there is no water, so neither are any trees to be seen on this island. We found, however, several large trunks of trees on the beach, which, no doubt, had been thrown up by the sea. ... They were like the red-wood tree, that grows on the banks of the river Columbia in America. I am at a loss what conclusion to draw from the appearance of these trunks of trees in so remote a place."  (A Voyage Round the World, Lisiansky, 1805)

“I also found on the beach a small callabash, which had a round hole cut on one side of it. This could not have been drifted from a great distance, as it was fresh and in good preservation."  (A Voyage Round the World, Lisiansky, 1805)

Before leaving, Lisiansky named the island and shoal; "To the south-east point of the bank where the vessel grounded, I gave the name of Neva; while the island itself, in compliance with the unanimous wishes of my ship's company, received the appellation of Lisiansky.”  (A Voyage Round the World, Lisiansky, 1805)

The spelling Lisianski (not Lisyansky) was officially adopted by the US Geographic Board, October 1, 1924. Other names by which the island has been called include: Lisiansky, Lysianski, Lassion and Pell.  (Thrum)

In 1857, King Kamehameha IV asked Captain John Paty to make a voyage of exploration to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  In part, he was sent to investigate the possibility of guano deposits on islands there (for fertilizer for the growing agricultural economy back on the Main Hawaiian Islands.

In addition, he confirmed or corrected the existence (or not) of many islands noted on old charts; "A considerable portion of the time absent has been consumed in looking after islands and banks which do not exist, or are erroneously marked on Blunt's charts."  (Paty, Polynesian, June 6, 1857)

In the course of his voyage on the schooner "Manuokawai," on May 11, 1857, Paty took possession of Lisianski Island for the Hawaiian Kingdom (he had previously annexed Laysan, its nearest neighbor, on May 1, 1857.)

In 1890, George D Freeth, an Englishman who had visited the area as early as 1864, and George N Wilcox, who had previously managed a guano operation on Jarvis Island, formed the North Pacific Phosphate and Fertilizer Company.

March 31, 1893, the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands adopted Act 22, confirming the contract between the Minister of Interior and North Pacific for a license for the removal of guano and phosphates from Lisianski (and Laysan.)

Guano mining (1890s,) the release of rabbits (1903) and mice caused ecological damage to Lisianski, as well as the loss of a breeding population of land birds (the Laysan duck was first reported on Lisianski Island in 1828.)

Feather collecting began on Lisianski about 1904. In response to public outcry about the feather trade, Theodore Roosevelt established the Hawaiian Island Bird Reservation, which included Lisianski, in 1909.

An armed party landed on the island in 1910. They arrested feather poachers and confiscated and destroyed about 1.4 tons of feathers, representing 140,400 birds.  (NOAA)

Today, with poaching at an end, the rabbits exterminated, and the vegetation again spreading over its low sandy surface, Lisianski once more is becoming a populous bird sanctuary.  (janeresture)

It is home to a large Bonin petrel colony (over three-quarters of the Bonin Petrels that nest in Hawaii nest here) and sooty tern colony, as well as a variety of other seabirds.

Lisianski has the only grove of Pisonia grandis trees in the entire Hawaiian Archipelago; this tree is dispersed by seabirds and is favored as a nesting site for many tree-nesting seabird species.

The reefs of Lisianski and surrounding Neva Shoals are called "coral gardens" by some scientists because of their abundance of coral and the variety of growth forms assumed by their colonies, including structures resembling spires, castles, and a variety of other shapes.

Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles are common visitors to Lisianski's sandy white beaches. Migratory shorebirds seen on the island include the kolea (golden plover,) ulili (wandering tattler,) and kioea (bristle-thighed curlew.) The volcanic island is undergoing the slow process of erosion.  (NOAA)

Click HERE for a link to a ‘street view’ of Lisianski.

The image shows Papaʻāpoho (Lisianski) (Google Street View.)  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Niʻihau School

Enrollment in Hawaiʻi’s public schools (255-Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (DOE) schools and 33-Charter schools) is counted as 185,273 for the 2013-14 school year (about 175,000 in the traditional DOE schools and 10,000 in Charter schools.)

The largest public schools (all K-12) are Campbell High (2,821,) Waipahu High (2,450,) Mililani High (2,445,) Farrington (2,437) and Kapolei (2,045.)  The smallest include, Kilohana (80; K-6,) Waiāhole (71; K-6,) Maunaloa (16; K-6) and Hawaiʻi School for the Deaf and Blind (12; K-12.)

Niʻihau High and Elementary School (K-12) is the smallest public school in the state; according to a Hawaii Department of Education report its 2013-14 enrollment was 10-students.

Ni‘ihau School is near the village of Puʻuwai on the Island of Niʻihau and consists of three classroom buildings and a combination cafeteria and meeting hall.

Enrollment at the school fluctuates as children travel to and from Kauaʻi for several weeks at a time. Students are first taught in English.  Niʻihau High and Elementary (grades K-12) primary focus is on improving reading and math skills of students.  (DOE)

Elective classes include chorus, drawing and painting, Hawaiian arts and crafts, Hawaiian dance, keyboarding, music appreciation, Polynesian music, ukulele and a writing workshop.

Students at Niʻihau School excel in the area of fine arts, particularly chorus and ukulele. The expression of the arts is evident in community celebrations such as Family Literacy Day and graduation.  (DOE)

A photovoltaic-cell system was installed at the school during the summer of 2007; this enabled reliable refrigeration and use of technological hardware (laptops were given to the school for students to begin using the keyboard and basic computer skills) - however, no internet or email system is available to Niʻihau School, as of yet.

The 2010 Census noted that the total population on Niʻihau was 170-people; there were 35-housing units (persons per occupied unit was over 6 – more than double of each of the other islands (housing vacancy was over 22%.))  (hawaii-gov)

Ni‘ihau is approximately 70-square miles or 44,800-acres.  It’s about 17-miles west of Kauaʻi.  The island’s highest point is 1,281-feet; approximately 78% of the island is below 500-feet in elevation.   Located inside Kauai’s rain shadow, Ni‘ihau receives only about 20 to 40-inches of rain per year.  Ni‘ihau has no perennial streams.  (DLNR)

“There was no appearance of any running stream; and though they found some small wells, in which the fresh water was tolerably good, it seemed scarce. The habitations of the natives were thinly scattered about; and, it was supposed, that there could not be more than five hundred people upon the island, as the greatest part were seen at the marketing-place of our party, and few found about the houses by those who walked up the country.”  (Cook’s Journal)

With limited rainfall and no perennial streams, for people to survive on the island, they likely farmed ʻuala (sweet potato) and/or uhi (yams.)  The evidence indicates Niʻihau produced excellent ʻuala and/or uhi.

“The eastern coast is high, and rises abruptly from the sea, but the rest of the island consists of low ground; excepting a round bluff head on the southeast point. It produces abundance of yams, and of the sweet root called Tee … they brought us several large roots of a brown colour, shaped like a yam, and from six to ten pounds in weight.”

“The juice, which it yields in great abundance, is very sweet, and of a pleasant taste, and was found to be an excellent substitute for sugar. The natives are very fond of it, and use it as an article of their common diet … We could not learn to what species of plant it belonged, having never been able to procure the leaves ….”  (Cook’s Journal)

For many years Niʻihau was called Yam Island by Western sailors because of the high quality of yams grown there.  A map of Yam Bay and the island of Niʻihau appeared in Captain George Dixon’s journal in 1788.  (Joesting)

So, while the island has limited rainfall, it was sufficient to grow food and sustain a population of around 500 (according to Cook.)  Niʻihau had a population of 790 people in 1853.  The census of 1860 reported a Niʻihau population of 647.

In the Māhele (1848,) Victoria Kamāmalu (sister of Kamehameha IV and V) claimed Niʻihau, however returned it and the land was retained by the government.  A couple Land Commission Awards were made to Koakanu, as well as a sale to Papapa.

In 1863, King Kamehameha IV offered to sell the island of Niʻihau to the Sinclair family.  (Joesting)  A final purchase price of $10,000 was agreed upon.  (Later, the family includes the Sinclairs, Gays, Robinsons and Knudsens.)

 “The whole island is now owned by a Presbyterian family of Scotch origin, who received me very kindly, & who will assist our work there very materially & very heartily.  The native population now remaining there is about 250 in number.” (Gulick to Anderson ABCFM (1865,) Joesting)

 “It is said that the transfer of the island involved some hardships, owing to a number of the natives having neglected to legalize their claims to their kuleanas, but the present possessors have made themselves thoroughly acquainted with the language, and take the warmest interest in the island population.”  (Isabella Bird, 1894)

The Sinclairs "bought sheep and cattle from the big ranches on Hawaii, and took them, with some fine sheep (they) brought with (them) from New Zealand, (began a) new ranch on Niihau."  (Von Holt)  They hired the Hawaiians to help with the ranch and the island.

"The natives on Niihau and in this part of Kauaʻi, call Mrs. (Sinclair) "Mama." Their rent seems to consist in giving one or more days' service in a month, so it is a revival of the old feudality. ... It is a busy life, owing to the large number of natives daily employed, and the necessity of looking after the native lunas, or overseers."  (Isabella Bird, 1894)

Today, Niʻihau has about 170-people who live at Pu‘uwai village, on the western (leeward) side of the island.  Niʻihau is nicknamed the "Forbidden Island," because the Robinsons (present owners and descendants of the original Sinclairs) strictly limit access to the island.

The island lacks basic municipal infrastructure.  There are no paved roads (walking, horseback or bicycle are the only transportation options on Ni‘ihau.)  No water and wastewater systems.  No stores.  No restaurants.  No doctors.  No police.  No fire department. (But it has the only school in the State powered by photovoltaic.)

The image shows the Niʻihau School.  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Monday, October 13, 2014


Lots of things were happening in the Islands when Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492 on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.

About that time, four major leaders ruled over various Islands in the Hawaiian Islands: Māʻilikūkahi on Oʻahu, ʻUmi-a-Līloa on Hawaiʻi, Piʻilani on Maui and Kukona on Kauaʻi.

Early in his reign, Māʻilikūkahi moved to Waikīkī and was probably one of the first chiefs to live there (prior to that, Oʻahu chiefs typically lived at Waialua and ‘Ewa.)  Waikīkī remained the Royal Center of Oʻahu aliʻi, until Kamehameha I moved the seat to Honolulu.

What is commonly referred to as the “ahupuaʻa system” is a result of the firm establishment of palena (boundaries) that Mā’ilikūkahi set up around the Island.  This system of land divisions and boundaries enabled a konohiki (land/resource manager) to know the limits and productivity of the resources that they managed.

ʻUmi-a-Līloa (ʻUmi) from Waipiʻo, son of Līloa, also moved the Hawaiʻi Island Royal Center about this time, from Waipi‘o to Kona.  He, too, started to divide the lands following the mauka-makai orientation.

ʻUmi started a significant new form of agriculture in Kona; archaeologists call the unique method of farming in this area the “Kona Field System.” (These are long, narrow fields that ran along the contours, along the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualālai; farmers then planted different crops, according to the respective rainfall gradients.

Piʻilani’s reign showed a boom in construction of heiau, fishponds, trails and irrigation systems.  Famed for his energy and intelligence, Piʻilani constructed the West Maui phase of the noted Alaloa, or long trail (also known as the King’s Highway;) his son, Kihapiʻilani laid the East Maui section and connected the island.

Missionaries Richards, Andrews and Green noted in 1828, “a pavement said to have been built by Kihapiʻilani, a king … afforded us no inconsiderable assistance in traveling as we ascended and descended a great number of steep and difficult paries (pali.)” (Missionary Herald)

Kukona, on Kauaʻi became a symbol of the very highest ideals of chivalry in battle.  He once captured all four chiefs of Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui and Molokaʻi and had the opportunity to kill them all.  However, he preferred peace and allowed them to return safely home with a promise that they never again make war on Kauaʻi.

As noted by Fornander: “The war with the Hawaii chief, and the terrible defeat and capture of the latter, as well as Kukona's generous conduct towards the four chiefs who fell into his hands after the battle, brought Kauai back into the family circle of the other islands, and with an eclat and superiority which it maintained to the last of its independence.”

Back to Columbus and America ...

Columbus wanted to find a new route to the Far East, to India, China, Japan and the Spice Islands. If he could reach these lands, he would be able to bring back rich cargoes of silks and spices.

Columbus called all the people he met in the islands Indians because he was sure that he had reached the Indies. When Columbus reached Cuba, he thought it was the mainland of Japan.

“At no time during the life of Columbus, nor for some years after his death, did anybody use the phrase 'New World' with conscious reference to his discoveries. … It was supposed that he had found a new route to the Indies by sailing west, and that in the course of this achievement he had discovered some new islands.”  (Fiske)

“At the time of his death their true significance had not yet begun to dawn upon the mind of any voyager or any writer.”  Still believing that he had found a new route to the East Indies, Columbus died in 1506.

It wasn’t until 1499, when an Italian an explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer, Amerigo Vespucci (March 9, 1454 – February 22, 1512,) sailed back to the area Columbus ‘discovered.’

Columbus found the new land; but Vespucci, by travelling down the coast, came to the realization that it was not India at all, but an entirely new continent.

What should they call it?

It wasn’t until a German clergyman and amateur geographer (Martin Waldseemüller) and his Alsatian proofreader (Matthias Ringmann) reportedly put the name “America” on the new land mass (April 25, 1507 – the first written use of America.)  (They made up the name, using a feminized Latin version of Vespucci's first name.)

Waldseemüller and Ringmann were at work on a reproduction of Ptolemy’s treatise on geography, to which they were adding a preface entitled ‘Cosmographiae Introductio.’  They determined to incorporate the story of Amerigo Vespucci's voyages into this work, and Ringmann, who was acting as editor, wrote an introduction.

“Now, these parts of the earth have been more extensively explored and a fourth part has been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci.  Inasmuch as both Europe and Asia received their names from women, I see no reason why any one should justly object to calling this part Amerige, i.e., the land of Amerigo, or America, after Amerigo, its discoverer, a man of great ability.” (Cosmographiæ Introductio of Martin Waldseemüller)

“(T)he name America was, for the time  being, restricted to the southern part of the  New World. After the lapse of three decades, however, another German cartographer applied the name America to the northern portion of the Western Hemisphere.”  (Cosmographiæ Introductio of Martin Waldseemüller)

But the new name didn’t completely catch on, at first.

The Pilgrims, in signing the Mayflower Compact (1620,) noted they were headed to Virginia.  The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628) and its initial laws Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641) reference being in New England.  In the mid-1700s, the British Colonies were referenced into the New England Colonies (northern,) Middle Colonies and Southern Colonies.

The earliest recorded use of this term in English dates to 1648, in Thomas Gage's The English-American: A New Survey of the West Indies.

It wasn’t until 1740, in the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (a fight between Britain and Spain in what is now known as Columbia,) that the British colonists on the continent were called ‘Americans’ for the first time (about 3,600-colonial troops supported the British effort - the Spanish won.)  (nih-gov)

The name ‘United States of America’ appears to have been used for the first time in the Declaration of Independence (1776.) (At least no earlier instance of its use in that precise form has been found.)  (Burnett)

Back to Columbus … President Franklin D Roosevelt created the first federal observance of Columbus Day in 1937; Richard Nixon established the modern holiday by presidential proclamation in 1972.  Columbus Day is observed the second Monday in October; it’s a federal holiday, it is not a State holiday in some states.

The image shows a portion of the map prepared by Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann, noting ‘America.’ In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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